Tuesday, June 9, 2009

I've been traveling...

Time has been flying by here in Perú. I’ve been busy with my work, traveling to meetings, and project development training sessions with some members of my community. Everything has been going very well, although the traveling is tiring (often 8 to 12 hours on a bus at a time). Now I’m back in Tomas for at least 2 weeks before I head to the coast for another meeting, and I’m excited to take advantage of this time in my community to really get moving on my projects.
A lot has happened in the last 3 weeks, but here are some of the highlights. Some of them are quite interesting, others not so much. But nonetheless, I hope you enjoy!

Last regional meeting on the coast:
Each month I head down from the mountains to the coast to attend a regional meeting with all the voluteers in the area. These are important to not only cover important business, but also to get refreshed by spending some time with other volunteers. But our May meeting brought a few little surprises.
The first, is that the coast (winter in the Southern Hemisphere), which was once a hot desert, is now a cloudy, dreary, cool place. It kind of takes the fun out of going. The other surprise, is that the only bus company that travels from the coast to my region of Yauyos changed it schedule, and no longer goes to Yauyos on Mondays. While trying to buy tickets and being confused about the new schedule change, I pointed out to the desk attendant that the schedule on the wall clearly says Mondays it goes to Yauyos…apparently there is no such thing as a false advertising law in Perú.

Training sessions with the Park Guards of the Reserva Paisajística Nor Yauyos Cochas:
So I work with park guards of the Landscape Reserve within which I live. At the end of each month there are 2 days of training for the Park Guards, and this month I was asked to give a session on Env. Ed. The park guards are all from within the Reserva, so even though they are park guards their env. ed is about the same as every other person who lives here…which isn’t much. I decided to give a talk on Global Climate Change, because that term gets used a lot, in a lot of interesting situations.
The talk was going well, with about half the guards sleeping and the other half listening intently and asking questions. After I finished talked and asked for a few more questions, things got a little interesting.
Questions where being asked about every environmental subject I could think of. From pollution spreading from a mining town 6 hours away, about effects climate change has on our water, and my favorite, when I was asked about acid rain but my spanish failed me and I thought the question was about Asian rains. (“Asia” and “ácida” are very similar in pronunciation). I had a good laugh about it later, although for some reason the Peruvians didn’t think it was that funny. Maybe they just expect me to make language mistakes?

And the big shebang, traveling to the city of Chiclayo for Project Development training with a group of park guards and all the other Environmental Volunteers:
This training, called PDM, is a Peace Corps run training session, and it’s a chance to develop projects with people you work with. Chiclayo, though, is about a 24 hour journey from Tomas, so the 4 day training was really an 8 day trip. The training was fine, although working with 3 park guards to write a project proposal is quite a difficult task. Until now I’ve taken for granted all the group work I did as a student in the U.S., but I realized that if you’ve never worked with a group on a project, things move frustratingly slow. In the end, we developed a good project to manage the garbage at every Guard Post in the Reserva. So I hope we can actually implement it.
Our last day of training we went with the park guards to National Protected Forest, Bosque Nacional Pomac. This is an incredible place. It is a dry forest of algarroba trees, which are similar to Mesquite trees in the Southwest U.S. The area looks like a desert, but it is covered in green trees. The trees survive with a 25 meter tap root (that’s really deep) and they grow during the rains that come every 10 years with El Niño. There are also pyramids from an ancient society, the Sican, which ended about 700 years ago. It was neat, to say the least.

That is quite the lengthy blog update, so thanks to those who read the whole thing! Now something for your viewing pleasure.

The group of park guards with PC volunteers with a giant Algorroba tree in the background.

The dry forest, with a pyramid in the background.

This is what i look like now...incase you forget during the last 9 months.

A traditional Sicán dress, along with all the park guards and PC volunteers.

A completely random picture, of a night i made BBQ beef and mashed potatoes with my friend and co-worker, Cate.

Construction complete of a micro landfill with the 9th graders.

Just getting landfill construction underway.


FMvQ said...

Thanks for bringing up the BBQ beef and mashed potatoes again.

Mark Forsberg said...

Points of solidarity:

1. Long bus rides: I feel the pain. I think I'm getting bruised from riding down the rocky roads and smashing into the sides of the bus or camion. In the past, I would have called those "roads" mountains - not exactly fit for driving/riding.

2. Asia or acid: For awhile, I was convinced that when they were talking about "coches," they were talking about cars. Then once I made the connection with "gripe," the whole pandemic made much more sense.

muffintop said...

Hey Jared, great update -- thanks. What do you do during the long bus rides? Books, chat with your seat mate? How bad is the pollution problem from the mine? I heard on NPR about mine workers in Peru who end up using polluted water for daily life while working in the mines.

What is the most effective project you guys have found so far? That micro land fill sounds interesting.

Talk to you later -- Steve Martin